Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctorate of Education, Ed.D.


College of Education



First Advisor

Rinyka Allison, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Bill Boozang, Ed.D.

Third Advisor

Meg Cavalier, Ed.D.


Students are motivated to perform tasks by either external or internal factors. Current research has shown that teachers in Title I schools face challenges when trying to motivate students. These challenges can cause teachers in Title I schools to have different perceptions about the motivations of the students. The Growth Mindset Theory and the Theory of Motivation make up the conceptual framework used for this study. The researcher designed the research question in order to examine the perceptions of 3 male and 3 female teachers who teach in a Title I middle school in a moderately sized urban school district. Data were from the initial, follow-up interviews, and a focus group. The researcher employed the use of the interpretive and inductive method to analyze the data. The analysis consisted of (a) reading and re-reading the transcripts, (b) categorizing the data into common themes, (c) reducing and combining similar themes, and (d) checking the final themes for relevance to the research question. Fourteen themes emerged from the data: understanding mindset, understanding motivation, current mindset of the students, influencing teacher practice, mindset behaviors, attitudes about growth mindset, intrinsic versus extrinsic motivation, changes in student motivation, motivation and academic success, general perceptions of growth mindset practices, using growth mindset to respond to students, embracing failure, celebrating improvement great and small, and teacher mindset. The recommendation of the study is to tailor the professional development in the area of growth mindset toward the specific populations of the school and the needs of the students they serve. Implications for change are that students, educators, administrators, and policymakers may be more aware of the practices necessary to transform the mindset of the teachers and students from fixed to growth in order to influence student motivation and improve the academic success of students throughout high school and beyond.

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